William Goldman WGF Interview

William Goldman Interview

In 2010, screenwriter William Goldman sat down with the Writers Guild Foundation for a lengthy chat.

Famous for writing such films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Marathon Man (1976), All the President’s Men (1976) and The Princess Bride (1987).

He’s also known for coining the phrase ‘nobody knows anything’ and his two books about his experiences in Hollywood, Adventures in the Screen Trade (1982) and Which Lie Did I Tell? (2000), are essential reading.

Amongst other things, he talks about:

  • His first screenplay
  • The changes in the business since the 1960s
  • His background and early life
  • Military service
  • Getting his first novel was published
  • His early education in movies
  • The importance of Cliff Robertson to his career
  • Differences between the Hollywood of yesteryear and today
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
  • His time at Princeton
  • The Great Waldo Pepper
  • Why he never wanted to direct
  • The one film he regrets not writing
  • Marathon Man (1976)
  • Agents
  • His time in the ‘wilderness’
  • The pirate movie he wrote that never got made
  • Working with Clint Eastwood

Watch the full 93 minute interview here:

> Buy Adventures in the Screen Trade and Which Lie Did I Tell? at Amazon UK
> William Goldman at the IMDb
> Writers Guild Foundation


John Cleese interviews William Goldman

ITV FailOn Sunday night I set my Freeview box to record The South Bank Show which featured screenwriter William Goldman talking about his career with Melvyn Bragg.

Just a few hours ago I sat down to catch up with it and 5 minutes in (as William and Melvyn were discussing the no-rules knife fight in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) it stopped. 

The fact that the info display said the show was 837 minutes long indicated that not all was well in the bowells of my Freeview technology. 

But surely ITV, with their all new, all singing, all dancing website, would have it on demand?

Er, no. Of course they don’t.

Can anyone at ITV explain why the most recent episode of their best arts programme is not available to see their website?

But then again we could be talking about the same people who screwed up monetising the Susan Boyle viral video

However, in my post-South Bank Show funk I did come across a 1992 interview John Cleese did with Goldman that was broadcast on BBC Radio Five (or Radio 5 as it was called back then) in 1992.

Here it is in 3 parts:

If you have never read them, Goldman’s two books about his career in Hollywood – Adventures in the Screen Trade (1982) and Which Lie Did I Tell? (2000) – are essential reading.

Both are filled with profound observations and juicy anecdotes about creating stories for the big screen and manage to avoid the usual I-did-this-and-they-did-that crap of certain memoirs. 

> John Cleese and William Goldman at Wikipedia
> Guardian interview with Goldman by Joe Queenan